Day of Prayer for Legal Protection of Unborn Children
In today’s Gospel, Jesus confronts scribes from Jerusalem who claim that the devil possesses Our Lord and casts out demons in the name of Beelzebul. On this 49th Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, we might reflect on Jesus’ famous response to the scribes’ charges: a house divided against itself cannot stand. Especially on right-to-life issues, our country has probably never been as divided against itself as it is now, except during the Civil War. We might reflect today on what the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago called a “consistent ethic of life,” an “attitude or an atmosphere” in society that prizes human life in every situation first and foremost. The consistent ethic of life, he said, is a perspective that respects life and never cheapens or dismisses the priority of life. Such an ethic makes both abortion and capital punishment unacceptable.
We might also pause to reflect on Jesus’ closing statement in the Gospel: “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, that person will never receive forgiveness but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” Over the years, I have heard the sin against the Holy Spirit described as unpardonable because it denies that the Spirit has the power to forgive. The suicide of Judas is sometimes offered as an example of this sin, making it a form of despair. Spend a few moments today asking yourself whether this sin has ever tempted you—we must pray for God’s help in resisting such temptation.
Let Us Pray:
God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother’s womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect of Today’s Mass)